The biggest takeaway from the Wizards’ 105-99 loss to the Detroit Pistons in their Summer League opener is that Tommy Sheppard has no clue when it comes to team building. Washington came to Las Vegas stocked with just one Isaiah on the roster — Detroit came with two, and that was all the difference.
Sure, he tried to compensate with a pair of Jordans, but what kind of GM fails to acquire a single Jalen or Jaden?!
For as long as there’s been NBA summer leagues, there’s been debate about its value. This is silly because the relative importance is easily determined by one simple question: Did a youngster on your favorite team have a good game? If yes, summer league performances are meaningful. If not, summer league performances are meaningless.
So, Wizards draftee Johnny Davis shot 1-9, had 2 turnovers and five fouls, and was saved from looking like the worst player on the floor by Detroit’s Jules Bernard.
On the other hand, Jordan Goodwin looked terrific scoring 20 points on 13 field goal attempts. Meaningless or meaningful? It’s summer league, so go cherry-picking! Davis playing bad can be meaningless while Goodwin playing well is a good sign.
I somewhat joke. NBA summer league matters enough that it’s generally preferable for the young guys on your favorite team to play well. But it doesn’t matter enough to get hyped if they do or sad if they don’t.
How seriously do the Wizards take it? Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert aren’t participating even though both could probably use the couple weeks of practice and games to improve.
If you want to be all bright side about things, Jordan Goodwin had a nice all-around game, Jordan Schakel hit some threes, got to the FT line (9-9) and came up with three steals, and Isaiah Todd made some shots.
If you want to worry, look to the five minutes when Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey thoroughly outplayed Davis (11 points on 2-2 shooting from the floor and 6-6 from the free throw line), plus a pair of assists. And look at Todd’s anemic production — 11 points and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes...as well as 3 turnovers and zero assists, steals or blocks.
Ultimately, summer league is a fun opportunity for players to get some reps in a low-pressure environment and seizing the chance to do things they can’t do in regulation NBA games...like Isaiah Stewart committing 8 personal fouls.
The Wizards play again tonight. Check your listings.
The Four Factors
Below are the four factors that decide who wins and loses in basketball — shooting (efg), rebounding (offensive rebounds), ball handling (turnovers), fouling (free throws made).
I’ve simplified them a bit. While the factors are usually presented as percentages, that’s more useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers in each category are easier to understand.
Note: The pace listed below is possessions per 48 minutes even though for some reason that makes sense to someone, summer league games are 40 minutes. I opted not to change it in my spreadsheet for two reasons:
- The games are being played mostly under NBA rules and a pace factor of 83 (possessions per 40 minutes) provides no useful information in an NBA context. And,
- I can definitely see myself forgetting to switch back to 240 minutes when the real games start and getting confused by the weird numbers. What can I say, except that I’m getting old.
Four Factors: Pistons 105 vs. Wizards 99
Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score (very similar to the one I used to call Scoreboard Impact Rating). PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, defending) and dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls).
Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on the scoreboard. The scale is the same as points and reflects each player’s total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.
PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it, so I’m including PPA scores as well. Reminder: in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. For a single game, replacement level isn’t much use, and I reiterate the caution about small samples producing weird results.
POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.
PTS = points scored
ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. Points produced is not the same as points scored. It includes the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as sharing credit when receiving an assist.
USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.
ORTG and USG are versions of stats created by Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver and modified slightly by me. ORTG is an efficiency measure that accounts for the value of shooting, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.
Key Stats: Wizards
|Vernon Carey Jr.||16||33||7||98||21.7%||20||1.7||-14|
Key Stats: Pistons